Tok Tot and Little Kye (age 3) in 1990
Tok Tot was my grandmother's nickname, given for her small physique ('ketot' means 'dwarf'). I never really thought she was small anyway and I always questioned why her friends (or her family) gave her that name. I wonder if those people were any bigger/taller than her.
She had passed away eight years ago on this very date - October 25, at the age of 85.
My grandma was one hella woman. Tok Tot was the only person, perhaps, whom I share much resemblance. I have a soft spot of imitating people's gestures and voices, often being misunderstood for my 'honest' opinions, prefer to be alone most of the time and never learn how to take 'No' for answer - just like her.
I still remember spending every Raya eve in her big, august kampong house and listened to her stories about everything - from her days during the Japanese occupation to how my mother was when she was little. Even our weekends were mostly spent on her veranda and listened to her 'updates' of the kampong. Most of the times, she kept it real and deliver her very blunt thoughts across - like when she complained the unpleasant sound of the muazzin's voice during the Azan (call to prayer). 'Macam kambing jatuh parit ('Sounds like a goat tripped into a ditch') - she would say.
But eight years ago, she had passed away peacefully on an early Friday morning. I still remembered staying up all night to recite the Quran by her side, glancing at times to her cold, motionless body. The afternoon ahead, I was already in the hearse heading toward the mosque and finally the cemetery. How I still remembered being drenched in tears and nodding repeatedly as the imam read the last rites by her grave.
That very night after her funeral, I missed her so much that I spent the night in the bed she passed away, complete with the quilt and the pillows she used. Some of my relatives were dreadful of even touching the bed of a dead, but nope, not me. Eight years later, I'm still very much alive, thank you.
Take that, superstitious Malay suckers.
Eight years had gone by so fast and so many things have changed. But I still made it a must to pay her a visit as often as possible and have a conversation with her on each visit - although the conversations now are only one-sided.
How I wish she would still be here. I really need her wisdom, her support and a large dose of her jokes as growing up is never easy and life is never too kind most of the time.
I wish she would still be here and tell me the same thing she told my brother before he got married - 'Buat apa kahwin awal-awal? Enjoy dulu! (What's the point of getting married so young? Enjoy yourself first!)'
I miss you, Tok Tot. Al-Fatihah.